Tuesday or Wednesday evening of this past week we began to hear cat meows under the house. We presumed a cat had gotten into the under house crawl space. By Thursday, it was clear the meow was a kitten, did not seem to be under the house, but in a wall at least 10 feet from the access area. I opened the access door with its now clawed through screen and about 20 feet away in the darkness a local feral cat ran across the dirt covered crawl space. We began to understand what must have happened.
Clearly a kitten from the feral cat was trapped somewhere in the bathroom/closet wall. We tried to figure out what to do. It was not clear exactly where it was and if it could yet climb out. I had visions of cutting up the wall all over its face in search of the kitten. We did not yet repair the screen on the little access door, thinking the mom might yet rescue its kitten.
By Friday afternoon it was clear the kitten was not going to get out on its own and had dropped down into the base of the wall downstairs where we could then tell where it was. There was growing desperation in the house to do something. We made a decision to cut into the wall from a closet side. I tapped gently with a hammer to find and avoid the studs, trying not to disturb the trapped kitty any more than necessary.
I was not sure what I would find. I suspected a kitten in great distress, psychological and physical. We dug out a utility knife, extended the blade only as deep as I thought the drywall thickness. I listened very carefully and decided on about a six-inch square area to cutaway the drywall.
Even though we had hoped a kitty would be right behind the cut hole, I was still surprised to find it right there. A kitty in what appeared to be good shape was looking right at me as I pulled out the drywall square. I didn’t know if it would bite or scratch my bare hand, and I hesitated before I grabbed it. The kitten started to climb up into the wall beyond the opening, so I did grab its leg and gently pulled out a relatively clean, meowing orange tabby kitten, no blood, no lashing out, and purring within moments of placing it in my lap.
We were relieved and overjoyed. Even after the stress of separation from its mother, darkness and being trapped, we now saw a curious gentle affectionate creature. A life had been saved, our growing worry at its cry now behind us. Our first goal was to get some water and food in it. It swallowed the syringe carried water and dilute food anxiously.
The kitten seemed to demand the name Walle, so after a vet’s visit and now two nights in our care and bonding, we now have an unplanned addition to our family of a sweet little male kitty.
We kept wondering why there only seemed to be one kitten, knowing a litter of at least of few kittens is the norm. Last Thursday, June 13, we got our answer. We began to hear meowing under the house. Peaking in, I saw three more kittens in my flashlight. Nightmare visions insued with more kittens trapped in walls. We called the SPCA who suggested they could provide traps and likely adoption.
We put food down for them and waited a day when we could focus on the task to set the traps.The first one was caught almost immediately and we bough it into a holding cage in the garage, setting the trap out again. Another was caught shortly thereafter, but when I went to add it to its siblings cage, the first kitten was gone. We assumed it was somewhere in the garage, changed our holding cage, caught the third and began trying to lure the escapee into the trap now reset in the garage.
Days went by and nothing bit. We began to dread that it had somehow gotten out and been eaten, or was trapped and unable to even cry. We reached out to a cat rescue person who gathered up the first two.
We could not rest, hoping that the kitty must still be somewhere nearby and must be getting very hungry. This weekend we started removing everything from the garage in a determined search for the little orange kitten. It was nowhere to be found.
Almost in desperation, I put food back out under the house, and checked to find it gone about an hour later. I did that once again before setting the trap. Something was down there eating the food. We hoped it was the escaped kitten. Sure enough, after another hour we began to hear meows under the house and discovered our clever missing rescue. In another half an hour, he was reunited with his brother and sister.